Serving Industry Since 1912

In 1912, Mr. John Norwell Sr., a recent arrival from Europe, started what was then called Universal Brass Foundry Company. His first job in the United States was in a local Chicago foundry where he learned the trade.  His son, John Norwell Jr., joined his father moving into the 2nd generation and expanding the foundry operation into manufacturing brass and aluminum castings for plumbing and decorative uses.  Later, John Junior's son Rodney joined the operation with an academic background in casting metallurgy from the University of Illinois Chicago.

Joining Rod was James Hartman with a background in sales and management skills. This 3rd generation of partners sought new markets and began specializing in high Nickel alloy and Stainless Steel castings for the Food, Dairy, and Valve Manufacturing industries.  To meet the demanding requirements of these special alloys High-temperature Induction furnaces were acquired.  As Universal grew successful in these new ventures Keir Norwell and Brett Hartman joined as a 4th generation of leaders and partners in the company.


In over a century of business, Universal Electric Foundry has become a fixture of high-quality industry in Chicago’s near-west side and as a long family tradition of skilled metal casters.

with over 100 years in the casting business
universal pours over 60 TYPES OF METALS
with experience and expertise